Welcome to the final part of our 3-part series on how to build a comprehensive musician’s marketing plan, which is one of the most powerful things we do here as an agency. In fact, they are so powerful, we recently renamed them Musician’s Total Tuneup.
In the first two articles in this series, we discussed building a solid and complete online foundation and outlined strategies for a successful new release launch. Now it is time to kick back and relax for a little while before starting to write material for the next album or EP that you’ll release a year or two down the road right? …..Couldn’t be further from the truth.
If you haven’t downloaded our Musician’s Marketing Plan / Total Tuneup Roadmap now would be a REALLY great time to do so.
There are 15 elements to keep in mind when planning a new release – they break down into 3 groups of 5.
The Constant Five – The Ongoing Work!
Your job now during this phase of your musician’s marketing plan is to keep supplying consistent compelling content to strengthen your relationship with your fans and potential fans.
Keep The Music Coming!
Live (or Streaming) Shows
Ongoing Social Media
1. Keep The Music Coming!
Gone are the days of releasing an album once every couple of years and leaving it at that. Today’s artists need to be constantly feeding their fanbases new music. Releasing singles and videos will keep fans engaged while they are waiting for a full-length album EP, or next single.
A skill set that you need for this is to understand how to use Spotify and SoundCloud. Download my Ultimate Guide to Streaming to brush up on the most effective ways to get the music out there. Remember, you’re not limited to just releasing original new tracks. A best practice for keping fans engaged with Spotify is plan to release something every 4 to 6 weeks.
Create alternate versions of your studio tracks:
Get a DJ to remix one of your songs. This does not have to be a famous DJ, someone who is familiar with what is trending on Hype M (if that is a goal), or has worked with an artist you love. If you’re interested in holding a remix contest you should contact the folks over at Indaba Music. They put together some great remix campaigns.
Or take a page from Nirvana and release an album of stripped down “unplugged” versions of your studio tracks. A great way to show a different side of the band and appeal to potentially new listeners.
Lastly release a live album, preferably from the CD release show, but any show will work as long as the audio is of top quality.
Share and upload more videos: official music videos, lyric videos, live videos, vlogs, Facebook Live sessions, Instagram Live, etc.
Record cover songs:
Music fans love covers. Recording cover songs is a great strategy for gaining awareness for new artists and it provides fun content to share with your fans. You can cover artists that inspire you, or similar sounding artists to further entrench yourself within your genre. Don’t box yourself in though. Covering a song outside of your genre can be a great way to tap into a whole new fan base. This is exactly what the pianist Scott D. Davis did when he decided to combine his love of heavy metal with the beautiful piano pieces he was recording. The result was millions of YouTube hits for his metal covers and new fans out of the heavy metal community, even of the artists themselves; Scott has been invited to open for Godsmack, Korn, P.O.D., Sevendust, Vince Neil of Mötley Crüe and Queensrÿche among others.
*Please note, to legally sell a cover song you will need to obtain and pay for a mechanical license. Harry Fox Agency is the foremost mechanical licensing agency in the US. Or work with Easy Song Licensing who will get the license for a small fee per song on top of the mechanical license fee. To legally make money from your cover songs, work with the company We Are The Hits.
2. Play Live (or Stream) Shows
Continue to tour, hitting the same markets that you played while supporting the new album to build on the momentum that has been made. There are financial limitations though on how often you can tour and you more than likely won’t be able to tour to every market where you have some fans.
A live streaming concert is where the audience is strictly the online viewers and can be filmed at your home or any interesting location have access to, a great tool to connect with people anywhere in the world. Tons of artists, big and small, are taking advantage of this right now to keep engaged and present with their current fanbase, generate revenue and to increase their brand and awareness. This could be an option for you since you don’t plan on hitting the road in a van (and we don’t suggest that you do!). You could also add a streaming element to your bigger event so fans from outside of major markets can tune in.
There is of course live streaming through Facebook and Instagram for example, but you can also live stream on platforms that offer many features geared towards musicians and will appear more like an “official” artist show. The two major players in this space are Stageit and Concert Window.
Picking between the two (they are both quite similar) will allow you to either charge a set ticket price or the better idea, and what most artists do, is use the pay what you want model. The differences are found in the way you can reward viewers as well as the amount of the proceeds the platform keeps (Stageit keeps a lot more!), definitely check both out and see which one you like better.
Streaming a show is also a great way to interact with your fans on a more personal and direct level.
Keeping the shows fresh and different will help with increasing viewership from show-to-show:
Play a game at the end of the performance or midway through using the chat feature. Trivia would be very easy game to pull off, where people could win merch or any other prizes that you can get your hands on.
Play new cover songs each week, better yet, ask people what covers you should play for the next week. Post the question on Your Facebook Page or on Instagram as a tile. The song suggestion that gets the most likes or comments will be the one(s) you cover.
Have guest performers join you. It’s a great way to add a new element to the live stream while cross promoting to each other’s fans at the same time.
3. Ongoing Social Media
Pay attention to your social channels and post often. Please see parts 1 and 2 of this article to deep dive and keep your Facebook Page, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Blog, or whatever your favorite social media channels are alive and active.
Don’t be a jerk and expect others to come to you – follow people and make friends. If you are not interested in them they shouldn’t be interested in you (it’s a 2-way street). To brush up all of your socials efficiently download my book Social Media Tuneup and get started!
Please avoid this costly mistake: You do NOT need to create merch until you have a fanbase who will buy merch and a sense of what they want to buy.
Merch has become very sophisticated over the last few years, there is no need to order a bunch of T-shirts (unless of course, your fans like to roll that way!)
Our three favorite Merch ideas are
USB Flash Drives
Different kind of merch item to sell that you can load up with music, pictures, videos, lyrics, sheet music, etc.
Is hot right now. According to a recent Guardian article: “sales of vinyl reached a 25-year high as consumers young and old have once again embraced physical formats of music.” Make sure you keep the fact that ordering can take months and make sure you are prepared to mail it out and carry it to shows (it’s heavy!)
DIY Craft Items
We also love the idea of creating unique DIY items as a vehicle of selling your music, our client Mary Jennings sells bolo ties at her shows and in her Etsy store when she’s not on the road. We loved hanging out with her and watching her fans try on ties after her set.
Michele Enoch wrote this fabulous guest post on youbloom – The Ultimate Independent Musician Guide to Merchandise and it’s jam-packed with fabulous links and unique idea.
5. Making Money
You want to be considered an artist and not a hobbyist, right? So making money is key to your ongoing strategy.
This is a great way to fund an album, a tour or a big idea and by the time your campaign ends, your contributors are invested in both the idea and the journey, increasing their loyalty levels to “super fan” status. However you must keep in mind that the average crowdfunding campaign raises $7,000, according to fundable, and it takes dedication and perseverance to pull off successfully.
Also – no crowd, no crowdfunding, so make sure you have a real dedicated fan base before you try this. In order to raise $5,000, you would need around 250 backers who would give an average of $20 each. In order to raise $10,000, you would need around 500 backers, who would, again, give an average of $20 each.
Patreon is all about content. This means you want to have consistent content to keep your patrons happy. Make sure to share exclusive content only available through your Patreon page.
Ultimately, the success of any kind of crowdfunding strategy will come down to you reaching out to your network through your newsletter, social media and getting them involved with both the funding and by helping to spread the word about your Patreon to their friends and networks.
Make sure your community knows. Mention your Patreon on your website and across your social media platforms. Go so far as to mention it in your YouTube videos and include a link to your page in the description.
Take the burden of promoting solely off your shoulders by evaluating your current network. Think of all the people that you know, people who have access to mailing lists, websites, blogs, and large social media profiles that you would be able to utilize to get the word out further about your Patreon.
Entice these individuals to get involved. Have another composer do a video or song with you and then spread that to their networks. Fans can only get that song by joining your Patreon.
Backstage meet and greets, private Skype sessions, and dinner with the band before a show are all possibilities and you don’t need to run a crowdfunding campaign to sell experiences. Many indie and major label artists are taking advantage of them.
is another area that artists are moving towards, where people sign up to receive music via Bandcamp or support the creation of videos through Patreon.
Just because people don’t buy CD’s much anymore and even downloads are in a decline, people are willing to support artists, you just need to give them the platform to do so and interesting items and experiences to offer.
So there you have it!
This 3-part series is a LOT and we know it, but we hope that you find it extremely helpful.
Now that you have read the final part of this 3-part series, Download our Roadmap to see what you have left to check off or still need to prepare…
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